Maybe not the clear outcome that Bath’s MP Wera Hobhouse was hoping for from the government Minister for Transport during the adjournment debate she’d secured to discuss the future of the city’s Cleveland Bridge.
Though the Minister, Rachel Maclean, agreed that the protection of Bath and its historic assets – including Cleveland Bridge – was of “national importance”
In addition to this she acknowledged the unsatisfactory situation of the A36/46 strategic route passing through Bath.
The Minister said:
“The Road Investment Strategy committed the government to carry out a strategic review of north/south connections between the M4 and Dorset coast. This will include a review of the case for adopting the A350 corridor as the main strategic route for the area in place of the A36/46 via Bath.”
She also, put on record her thanks for all those who have been working to deliver the Clean Air Zone
Following the Debate, Wera Hobhouse said:
“The Minister has committed to securing an alternative route for heavy freight traffic but as I said to her during the debate – this may take years and by the the time it happens we may once again need to make urgent and serious repairs to Cleveland Bridge.
“The residents of Bath have made it very clear. We need a permanent 18-tonne weight restriction on Cleveland Bridge after the repairs take place. Unfortunately, the Minister stopped short of allowing us to do this, but she did not deny that this was the only viable option to protect our historic bridge.
“The Minister has left the door open to talk further and I will be taking up this offer shortly. I will continue to argue strongly that the Council should be allowed to make it the 18-tonne weight limit on Cleveland Bridge permanent, as the Bridge was never built to withstand heavy modern traffic.”